By FARA AISYAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The government needs to relook into the 197ha Bandar Malaysia mega project, which has not attracted interest from any developer, before opening a new tender, should the project be continued.
Knight Frank Malaysia Sdn Bhd MD Sarkunan Subramaniam said there are developers who are interested in Bandar Malaysia since it is located on one of the country’s most prime land.
However, many of the companies are shying away due to certain uncertainties in terms of policy direction, especially after the change in government, apart from the recent proposed deferment of the Kuala Lumpur (KL)-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR).
“It will also take some time to sort out other mismanagement by the previous government, and the priority now is the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as the development is almost completed. Once the new government has sorted out the issues with TRX, its focus will directly go to Bandar Malaysia,” Sarkunan told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
He said the government would then have to redraft and revise Bandar Malaysia’s master plan and objectives — whether to build a concrete commercial jungle or cater to the need of the people, as the Pakatan Harapan government had pledged to build more affordable homes.
Sarkunan said “it was such a waste” if the land — that would be the ideal location for affordable homes — is given to “politically-inclined companies”, similar to the situation with the previous government, to build high-end projects.
Sarkunan said there is no need to give the tender to international developers as some Malaysian developers are capable of building the central transportation hub.
Bandar Malaysia was supposed to have housed the main hub for the eight-station KL-Singapore HSR.
However, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently announced that the HSR project will be deferred due to its high development cost.
VPC Alliance (KL) Sdn Bhd MD James Wong concurred that the unclear direction on the future of Bandar Malaysia is among the challenges that hinder developers from bidding for the project.
“The government had rescinded the agreement to sell the 60% stake to Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd-China Railway Engineering Corp consortium.
“Since then, it has not come out with a new policy framework or guidelines for potential partners to develop Bandar Malaysia,” he said.
Wong reckons the new Pakatan Harapan government also has many other mega projects to address, and until it can find enough fund to develop Bandar Malaysia, he expects the new government to defer its development.
“With the changes of the federal government and the deferment of the HSR whereby Bandar Malaysia was expected to be the main terminal station, we do not expect any new Bandar Malaysia developments in the near foreseeable future — not until the government reduces the national debt, the economy regains its financial strength and ready to renegotiate with the Singapore government on the HSR project,” Wong added.
TMR reported MP Tony Pua (Pakatan Harapan-Damansara), who is also Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s special officer, as saying that the Finance Ministry discovered that no firm had come forward to take up the challenge.
“When we asked the ministry officials, the number of developers who came forward was zero,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during the debate on the Royal Address last week.